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Who created Stadia's Vulkan-Renderer for Shadow of the Tomb Raider?
1xok commented on 16 October 2019 at 5:46 pm UTC

The Definite Edition is released for the Linux Desktop and Stadia. Do you think that Square Enix really created two completely independent Vulkan renderers? One from Feral for the Linux Desktop and one from an unknown team for Stadia?

I mean, it doesn't really make any sense, does it?

And everything will be released on November 5th, although Tomb Raider was announced by Feral a year ago.

I think Feral could use an already finished renderer or created the renderer for Stadia as well. If that's the case, then the performance should be fabulous this time. Especially on AMD cards. The Vulkan renderer for Stadia must be well optimized for AMD hardware, otherwise the game consumes unnecessary computing power, which Google would have to provide.

I'm very curious about this release and hope for many benchmarks.

mirv commented on 16 October 2019 at 6:16 pm UTC

So I've answered this kind of thing elsewhere, but I enjoy the discussion topic, so....here I write!

In advance: I've not spoken to anyone, I've no insider knowledge, this is just conjecture on my part.

I don't think there are completely independent renderers for Shadow of the Tomb Raider. It just doesn't make sense. It would cost less money for Square Enix to hire Feral to port than it would be to spend the internal man-hours to redo everything. If Feral have done the work, do that.
I do suspect that might delay the game - getting all the contractual details sorted might include a clause that said "delay GNU/Linux desktop release until it's ready for Stadia too". Equally, Feral may have wanted to wait for more infrastructure to be available for a native port (feature readiness in Vulkan and drivers).

So if it's assumed that Feral worked on the Stadia version, then indeed performance becomes an extra consideration. They might get away with less performance, or some shortcuts, etc, on general desktop release. A few frames less doesn't really matter there. It can matter for Stadia. So they'll have wanted to really dig through the game - and that might mean more substantial changes than is typically done. If Shadow has a DX12 render path though, it might not be all that bad. Still, it's a level beyond what they might normally do, and it makes sense to delay GNU/Linux desktop until the Stadia version is ready too (because they can keep code bases synchronised, and aren't distracted by supporting one out the door while trying to get the other ready).

Fortunately, AMD drivers are open. This helps game developers because they can peek into the driver itself and see what it's up to, and optimise accordingly. And again, Feral have experience here. That alone would make it ideal for them to do a Stadia version rather than have Square Enix do it themselves. However, I daresay most GNU/Linux desktop users with AMD hardware will be using radv rather than amdvlk, and if Feral are putting that extra mile into Stadia then there might be less testing on nvidia too. So that's something to consider (although I don't think it will be too much of a problem - certainly far less of a problem than it used to be with OpenGL!).

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